MD: Savage River News

Posted: 07/09/2001
By: Jason Robertson
Hagerstown, MD (October 24, 2001) -- American Whitewater's Access Director Jason Robertson met with the Upper Potomac River Commission and Maryland Department of the Environment to plan for whitewater recreation on the Savage River.

There was consensus among the parties to work together with the Army Corps and develop a procedure for forecasting releases at least 24-hours in advance and withholding water in order to provide notice of recreation flows when it would not threaten the dam's integrity. There was also broad agreement to work on scheduling releases when water was available, the fishery was protected, and the Commission's liability concerns from strainers could be addressed. This appears to be a sea change from 2000, and we are optimistic about scheduling releases in 2002.

American Whitewater wishes to express our thanks to all the meeting's participants, Governor Parris N. Glendening and his staff for taking a proactive role in addressing recreation on the Savage, and to all of the boaters who have written letters to the Governor expressing your interest in boating one of Maryland's premier whitewater treasures. Bookmark this site for future updates.

PROPOSAL: American Whitewater is working aggressively to obtain regularly scheduled recreational whitewater releases (600-1000 cfs) on the Savage River for the second weekend of each month between June and September. Our proposal is contingent upon water availablity (during all but most severe drought conditions). Reliable releases would benefit the boating community, provide a stable tourism base in Garrett County, meet the UPRC's legal obligations, compliment the Upper Youghioheny release schedule, facilitate training by Olympic contenders, protect and restore the natural stream channel impacted by the dam, and facilitate Maryland, Virginia, and Washington's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Background Documents & News Stories

Governor Glendening Offers to Mediate on Savage(9/18/01).
American Whitewater letter to Governor Glendening (July, 2001) A sample letter is attached, please adapt to reflect your residence and interest and mail to the Governor.
Savage Visitation Survey (June, 2001) American Whitewater surveyed 131 paddlers and found that 97% would plan on visiting the Savage River if there were reliably scheduled releases. Though 83% of the paddlers had heard of the Savage, only 26% had visited the river. 69% reported that the greatest deterrent from visiting the river was the lack of reliably scheduled releases. Safety, whitewater difficulty, and travel distances were of minimal deterrence to the boaters.
Response to UPRC (June, 2001) The UPRC's attorneys responded to American Whitewater in May, 2001. Our response and rebuttal of claims is attached. In brief, the UPRC failed to explain why there were no recreational releases on the Savage in 2000.
Letter to UPRC (April, 2001) What Does the Future Hold for Savage River Releases? American Whitewater wrote the UPRC requesting a meeting to discuss the future of whitewater releases on the Savage River. The letter is attached.

Message regarding potential releases in 2000

. The UPRC denied boaters' requests for releases on the Savage in 2000.

All photos on page used with permission. Photos taken by Bob Combs of Savage River in '89 World Slalom Championships. Additional photos by Bob Combs are posted online at

Jason D. Robertson

635 Joseph Cir

Golden, CO 80403-2349

Full Profile

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!